Today’s International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Women world-wide have already changed the world for good, and play a vital role in the transformation to a fairer, just and more sustainable world. The World Future Council is working to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren, and in the light of the global climate crisis especially highlights the accomplishments of their female environmentalists for a living planet.
The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive international human rights treaty on violence against women and domestic violence. This legally binding instrument explicitly defines violence against women as a human rights violation and a form of gender-based discrimination and includes a strong emphasis on prevention and survivors’ rights. In addition to Council of Europe Member States, it can be ratified by the European Union and is open for accession by any State in the world.
The Istanbul Convention reflects a comprehensive approach covering the areas of prevention, protection (including provision of support services for survivors), prosecution, and coordinated policies. In addition to its focus on survivors’ rights and protection, it also encourages action over the longer term through prevention measures, and requires the establishment of specialised institutions, partnerships, substantial budget allocations and data collection to ensure effective implementation.
As of May 2016, more than three-quarters (42 of 47) of the countries that are Council of Europe members have signed the Convention and 22 of them have also ratified it: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
The European Commission proposed on 4 March 2016 the European Union’s accession to the Convention. The Istanbul Convention would become the second human rights treaty binding the EU, after the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The EU would accede to the Convention alongside EU Member States. As of May 2016, 14 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) have already ratified the Convention. A further 14 Member States have signed it but not yet ratified.
Violence against women and girls is a global challenge that requires effective, comprehensive and immediate policy solutions. Recent data shows that at least 30% of women worldwide have suffered physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, confirming the urgency of the matter on a global scale. Fortunately, in some parts of the world, local initiatives and frameworks have already proven highly successful in tackling gender-based and domestic violence, which can serve as examples to the global community.
The “Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence” implemented in Minnesota (USA) is one of those initiatives. Also known as the “Duluth Model”, the method has been successfully protecting women from domestic violence for more than 30 years. For this, it was awarded the 2014 Future Policy Award as the world’s best policy addressing domestic violence. In April 2016, our team travelled to Minnesota, US, to facilitate a workshop that aimed to spread this comprehensive policy to other communities.
The “Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence” workshop brought together advocates, law enforcement officers, legal professionals and policy-makers from six different countries (Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Trinidad & Tobago) to explore and witness first-hand the key principles of CCR as it is being implemented in Duluth (Minnesota, USA). This method, also referred to as the “Duluth Model”, promotes cooperation of all relevant actors, such as police and probation officers, prosecutors, and NGO advocates, working to prevent and combat domestic violence. This coordination effort proves as a highly effective approach for the implementation of domestic violence laws and focuses on victims’ safety and offender accountability.
The workshop provided an extraordinary opportunity for participants to learn the techniques of CCR from its designers/founders/initiators – and in the community that has most successfully implemented it – and develop an understanding and framework from which to respond to domestic violence in their own communities.
The World Future Council (WFC) was a funding partner of this nine-day workshop, planned and hosted by Global Rights for Women (GRW), a Twin Cities based non-profit, and presented in partnership with Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) out of Duluth, Minnesota. The workshop took place from 28 March to 5 April 2016.
- 18 participants from six different countries (Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Trinidad & Tobago)
- 68 hours of training, convening, observing and peer-to-peer exchange over 9 days
- Three days of intensive training by the staff at the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) in Duluth (Minnesota) and four days of training by Global Rights for Women’s legal experts in Minneapolis (Minnesota).
- Observation opportunities: participants visited a 911 emergency communications centre, shadowed police officers responding to calls, attended domestic violence court hearings, met with prosecutors and probation officers, and observed men’s nonviolence group meetings.
- The study tour also included meetings with parliamentarians, representatives from local authorities, law enforcement entities, judges and prosecutors, service providers and civil society organizations.
Future Policy Award 2014
In 2014, the Duluth model was named the world’s best policy to address violence against women and girls by the World Future Council (WFC), UN Women, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Our Future Policy Award highlights the world’s best policy approaches to the most pressing political challenges that the global community is facing today. In 2014, the award was dedicated to celebrate the best laws and policies that contribute to ending one of the most pervasive human rights violations of our time: violence against women and girls.
The World Future Council will continue to work with our partners to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between policymakers and their NGO counterparts and to support them in introducing the model in their communities.
GRW is a non-governmental organization that envisions a world where women’s human rights to equality and freedom from violence are fully realized.
Marta Sánchez Dionis, Policy Officer, Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, World Future Council
The Gold Winner of the Future Policy Award 2014 to end violence against women and girls was highlighted by US Vice President Joe Biden at an event in Duluth, Minnesota, on October 23. The City’s Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence, which is known as the “Duluth Model”, was recognised as the world’s best policy to end violence against women and girls at the Future Policy Award Ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland on October 14.